Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bad Day Pie

We all have bad days. Hayden happened to be having one when I made this pie back in December. I remember the day pretty well- he was fussy from the getgo. He was hungry, but didn't want to eat. He was tired but didn't want to sleep. When he did sleep, it was for 15 minutes at a time, then he'd wake up crying because I had put him down. He spit up several times throughout the day, which meant he was constantly wet and stinky. All that made for one cranky baby.
My grandma was in town and had stayed the night to help out. I think we scared her. haha! Hayden is generally a happy baby and only cries when he is tired, hungry or in pain. He doesn't just cry because he needs something to do. But that was the first time my grandma really spent time with him and I don't think she was prepared for it. This pie only takes a few minutes to put together but it took me over an hour to make because I kept having to take breaks to soothe Hayden. Melt the chocolate, take a break, stir in the cream cheese, take a break, fold in the whipped topping, take a break, pour into crust, take a break. You get the idea.
After several hours of crying baby, I had a mini breakdown and retired to the bathroom to soak in the tub in peace. Mr. H and my grandma were tending to Hayden and all I could hear from across the house was his crying. I tried to relax and just couldn't. Mr. H tried to soothe Hayden and couldn't so he brought him into the bathroom to see me. He got in the tub with me and we played in the water for over an hour. He loved floating and splashing and returned to his usual happy self. All this to say that even after a long hard day, something sweet can still come out of it and I'm not talking about the pie.
Hayden with his Great Grandma (GGma) in December 2011
This pie was creamy, slightly tangy from the cream cheese, light and mousse-like. You can switch it up by using different chocolate, or whipped cream instead of Cool Whip, just be sure to use a homemade crust- I used store bought and was disappointed in it's flavor but the filling was great. If you're having a bad day, take a break or ten, and make pie.
German Sweet Chocolate Pie from Let's Dish

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  • 4 ounces Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 1 graham cracker or chocolate pie crust
Heat chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the milk in saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until chocolate is melted. Beat sugar into cream cheese; add remaining milk and chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and blend until smooth. Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Garnish with additional whipped topping and chocolate curls, if desired. Let stand at room temperature about 1 hour before serving then refrigerate any leftovers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Loaded Photo Post

I've had photos on my computer that date back to September that I wanted to share with you all and never did. Then Keeley from My Life On A Plate blogged a bunch of photos that inspired me to so the same. No food or recipes today just some of my favorite photos. My friend Lori from LFE Photography took the photos of Hayden when he was just 2 weeks old and our holiday pictures. The rest of them I took but I've put my logo on all of them. Hope you enjoy!

These are photos of Hayden when he was just 2 1/2 weeks old and still wearing newborn size clothes. I look back at these from time to time and I can't believe how small and tiny he was and how much he's changed!

I think this one wound up on Pinterest. My friend shared it on her FB page and someone pinned it. I didn't know about it until my sister saw it and told me about it.

This personalized wooden block was given to Hayden by Allie of Eat At Allie's. It was one of my favorite things he received because it was made especially for him with his birth information on it and because she honored Hayden's older angel brothers on it. It will be treasured for a lifetime. You can purchase your own from Craft-E-Family. Thank you Allie so much!

Fast forward to the first of December when Hayden was just 3 months old. I knit this blanket a few years ago and now he gets to use it. At this age he was still learning to hold his head up.

I did not knit this but a dear friend of mine did. It's a sleep sack and matching hat. I took a picture of him using it to send to her and my mom loved it so much that she submitted it in the Gerber cutest baby contest. haha!

These next few photos are from our holiday photo shoot. These were so much fun!

That is one good looking Poppa holding his son.

Of course Autumn took part in it too.

Sleepy and ready for this photo shoot to be over!

This was a happy coincidence- this heart was already carved into the tree- we did not photoshop it into the pictures. I also want to point out the beautiful green blanket my friend Kristi of Not What I Expected made for him. Thank you Kristi!

Mr. H is a huge fan of Christmas and "exterior illumination". Once Thanksgiving is over, he turns into Clark Griswold. He wanted me to share this photo of his hard work. Thank you honey for making our Christmas brighter.

And these are salt dough ornaments that I made in February of Hayden's hand and foot. I hoped to have them made in time to put on the tree but it just didn't happen. They'll look great on the tree next year though :-)

My beautiful Valentine!

Hayden was born with enlarged kidneys. They're also filled with fluid and shouldn't be. This can lead to urinary tract infections but so far he's been perfectly fine and infection free. We've taken him to a few doctor appointments and ultrasounds just to keep an eye on them. This past Tuesday he went for a follow-up appointment and we stopped by The Ronald McDonald house which is next door to the pediatric urologist. Here is a side by side comparison of Hayden with Ronald. He's filling out that car seat very well.

And lastly, this is the sunset from our backyard last night on Mr. H's birthday. It was 92 degrees in February! This day last year it was snowing. That's just how unpredictable Texas weather is.

That's all for now. Thanks for letting me play catch up! Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pie Or Cake?

I've been on a pie kick lately and I'm not sure why. Maybe because they're so versatile and can be sweet or savory, and can be served at any meal. Or maybe it's because they can be the meal and the dessert? I'm not sure, but I've been going through my cookbooks and bookmarking pies left and right. I hope you don't get tired of them because it seems that 2012 is the year of the pie. Move over layer cake! Did I just say that?

This month The Cake Slice Bakers chose to make Boston Cream Pie. I realize it's not actually a pie, but a cake, but who cares when you have vanilla cake sandwiched with thick pastry cream and topped with velvety chocolate ganache? I almost made this for my Pie Party, but I ran out of time so I made it for our Super Bowl get together. Classy right? Picture it- Spicy Buffalo Wings, Chips and Queso, Baked Corndogs, Veggies with Dip, Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza Puffs and Boston Cream Pie on a Pedestal. haha! It's a little contradictory but it's never a bad time to eat cake. Or pie. Which is it?

This cake is not hard to make, but you have to plan ahead when making it. It's a little laborious and time consuming, but it's rather simple as long as you read and follow the directions. Just be sure to make the custard ahead of time and have it well chilled so when you're ready to assemble this cake you're not having to wait on the filling. Now I'd love to say that this cake was a dream come true but to be honest I thought the actually sponge cake was a little dry. The filling and the topping were great though and I'd make those components again but I'd try a different recipe for the cake. I thought it dried out because I made it the night before but some of the other Cake Slice Bakers had the same issue. Keep that in mind if you give this recipe a try. If nothing else you'll end up with a very pretty dessert. And who doesn't love pretty?

Boston Cream Pie adapted from The Cake Book

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  • 1 recipe Vanilla Custard Filling (make and chill prior to baking the cake)
  • 1 recipe Hot Milk Sponge Cake
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Glaze

For The Vanilla Custard Filling:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and the cornstarch, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter until melted.

Immediately strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap, and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for two hours, or until well chilled.

Just before assembling the cake, transfer the custard filling to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture at high speed until it is light and forms soft peaks, about 1 minute.

For The Hot Milk Sponge Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center on the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan. Dust pan with flour.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt two times. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter and heat over medium heat just until the butter is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at high speed until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until pale and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes.

Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture in two more additions.

Reheat the milk mixture to just under a boil. Add it all at once to the egg mixture and gently fold it in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes, until it springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Run a paring knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Reinvert the cake, so that it is right side up.

For The Chocolate Glaze:

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the glaze is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the glaze to a small bowl. Cover the surface of the glaze with a piece of plastic wrap and let cool for about 10 minutes before using.

Assemble The Cake: Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally in half to make 2 layers.

Save the smooth bottom layer for the top of the cake, and place the remaining cake layer cut side up on a serving plate. Scrape the filling onto the layer and, using a small offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer. Top with the other cake layer, cut side down.

Glaze The Cake: Pour the warm glaze over the top of the cake, allowing some of it to drizzle down the sides. Serve the cake immediately, or refrigerate.

Store in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to a day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

I've been getting emails and comments asking where Hayden is. You guys are funny! Here he is with his daddy looking at himself in the mirror. He looks at himself, smirks at the good looking boy staring back at him then starts giggling. When he's feeling grumpy, this cheers him up everytime. Maybe he's laughing at his momma, because I like to sing to Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror" to him when he does this, except I sing "I'm looking at the boy in the mirror". :-) I wish you all could just hear his laugh. It's the best sound in the world.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Brother Joe

Today my older brother, Joe, turns 31. Happy Birthday Bro! He likes to call me "sis" so today on this blog (even though he doesn't read it) I get to call him Bro. :-) My brother drives me crazy. He's loud, talks too much, asks waaay too many questions (especially while watching movies) and is very opinionated, even about stuff he has no experience in. Here's an example of that: He gives me baby advice left and right though he has no kids nor has he ever raised any. He says babies have sunken in skulls because their mommas pull the pacifier out of their babies mouths too fast, creating a suction that in turn sucks that "soft spot" in and they only way to push it back out is to press on the roof of the babies' mouth with your thumb. One night he was inspecting Hayden's head, looked it up and down from different angles, then said, while nodding, "he's got a good head". I don't know where he gets his information but he means well and it makes us laugh because he's so serious about it. He's a pain in my rear but I wouldn't trade him in for any other. He's a giver, a lover, very protective of his loved ones and will give anyone the shirt off his back, or in this case, the hat off his head.

My brother Joe playing with Hayden. They're pals for life.

My brother was held back in school in the first grade, so even though he's a year older we have always been in the same grade together. We had the same teachers, the same friends, the same homework- you get the picture. We've always been close because we couldn't get away from eachother. haha! When we walked home from school, he would walk behind me and light matches and throw them at my feet. It used to scare me, but he thought it was funny. That was just him being an older brother. We also used to play with sling shots in the back yard and play "classic" Nintendo together conquering level after level. Our game of choice was "Contra" and one of the codes to boost your super power was "up, up, down , down, left, right, left, right, B, A". I don't know why I still remember that, but I do.

Another brother/sister moment, I remember was when we made the neighborhood go dark. My brother had a pellet gun and my grandparents lived three houses in from the corner. On the corner and across the street was a street lamp. He and I parked out on the front porch, pumping up his Wal-Mart purchase and aiming at the street lamp. Peering together through the scope, we decided on a particular spot we would aim at. He took several shots, then it was my turn, then back to him. I don't think we actually knew what we were doing, we were just shooting because we had nothing else to do and it was rebellious. Then all of a sudden, "POP", out went the light! We both looked at eachother in shock then ran inside playing innocent. Yeah, we were careless, but we were kids and the light was fixed a couple days later.

These days, I don't get to see my brother as often. He's a trucker and lives across the state, but when he makes a run into town he makes time to spend time with his family. He was in town this past weekend. He spent most of his time eating gummy candy and Pop Rocks and watching cartoons on the Internet. That's his thing. He can eat sugar straight out of the jar, and eats candy and chugs sodas ALL day long, but he doesn't like glaze or frosting on cakes, because they're "too sweet". He's a contradiction, but that's who he is. And he loves peanut butter. For his birthday treat, I decided to make him peanut butter marbled brownies even though he requested rock candy. I'm not a big fan of PB and chocolate but he loves it. As I went to cut them into squares, they fell apart and onto the counter. I was bummed with their appearance because they weren't as perfect as I wanted them to be, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I kept one to take pictures of and sent the rest home with him. Mr. H and I shared it together with a scoop of Tin Roof Ice Cream and chocolate sauce. It was fudgy and amazing!

Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies adapted from Allrecipes

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For The Peanut Butter Layer:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For The Chocolate Layer:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a 1/2 cup peanut butter chips and 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 egg, and milk until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, 2 cups white sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the remaining 3 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; mix into the batter.

Remove 1/2 cup of the chocolate batter and stir 1 Tablespoon of milk into it to thin it out slightly; set aside. Stir the chocolate/peanut butter chips into the remaining batter.

Spread the chocolate chip batter into the prepared pan. Spread the peanut butter filling over the top. Drop the reserved chocolate batter by teaspoonful over the filling. Using a knife, gently swirl through the top layers for a marbled effect.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely, then cut into bars.

We love you!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Valentines

We don't do much to celebrate Valentine's Day in the Lick The Bowl Household. When Mr. H and I first got together I had high expectations for this holiday, it is the day of love after all. I expected dinner out, a romantic movie at the theater, red flowers, puffy hearts, chocolate and all that other cuddly crap! Before you start rolling your eyes at me I have to mention that we started dating in high school and I didn't know any better. haha! It only took me one year together to realize that the holiday is way overrated.

We started dating in March of 1999, so he was off the hook that year, but in 2000, I expected the works and I was sadly disappointed. I was stubborn- heck, I still am- but as the man in the relationship I thought he needed to make the reservations for dinner WITHOUT me having to tell him. He didn't and I refused to make them myself so needless to say, we drove around town for a couple hours trying to get into any restaurant without having to wait for 3 hours for a table. A few hours later, we were both grumpy and hungry and decided to just go to our favorite Tex-Mex joint and enjoyed a fajita dinner and dessert for 2 for less than $20! I realized then that it didn't matter where we ate, whether or not I got chocolate truffles or long stemmed roses. It mattered that we were together.

I was a brat, I admit it, but I like to think that I've more than made up for it over the years. Now on Valentine's Day, I bake up a favorite chocolate dessert or a steak and potatoes dinner for the man I love. We are both happy to stay in and eat dinner in our lounge clothes in front of the television watching our usual DVR'd sitcoms. This year will be no different, though we have a new little Valentine to spend the evening with- he will be having milk.

This cake combines two of Mr. H's favorite things- chocolate cake and cinnamon sugar. They happen to be my favorites too. The vegan cake was light and moist, tender and quite flavorful. It was even simple enough that little Hayden helped me whip it up for his Poppa. My family loved this cake too. There was one large slice left and we all hovered around the pan with forks in hand and devoured it. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Cinnamon Sugar Cocoa Cake adapted from Hawaii's Best Local Desserts via Food Librarian


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cold coffee or cold water


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add oil, vinegar, vanilla and coffee or water to the bowl. Stir together with a whisk - but be sure you don't overbeat. (Do not make this in a KitchenAid mixer or electric mixer - a fork or whisk are just fine. You'll see bubbles because of the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar.)

When combined, immediately pour into the 9 x 13 pan. Evenly sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar topping.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cherry On Top

A couple months ago I did a review for a cookbook called Sugar, Sugar. In my review, I mentioned that I had a list of recipes that I wanted to make from it. Well, this is one of them. The initial appeal to the recipe was because they were so strikingly red and beautiful. Can bars really be beautiful? I think so. The other part was that it used up a can of cherry pie filling that I had hiding in the back of my pantry.

I don't often make recipes that are made in a half-sheet pan, because there are only two of us and usually the recipe yields too much for us to eat. But I made these to take over to my in-laws for dinner. I left several bars for them, we ate several, then a couple days later I took the remaining bars to my mom's for dinner. To say that my little brother loved them was an understatement. He ate 6 of them! First he started off with one, then another, then get the idea. I think he would have polished off the entire plate, but he was nice enough to leave some for my mom to enjoy as well. Had she given him the okay, he would have gladly eaten those too.

I thought these bars were going to be like bar cookies, but they really weren't. They were a cross between a cookie and a cake. Chewy and firm, but soft, gooey and moist all at the same time. My favorite part was the little buttery dumplings of dough that puffed up on the top of the glossy cherries. We ate these over the course of 4 days and as they aged, they got softer and gooier. I have plans to make these again for my brother so he can eat til his heart's content. He's young, tall and thin- he can stand to gain a few pounds :-).

Cherry Slices from Sugar, Sugar
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 larges eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional (my addition)
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11x17-inch rimmed baking sheet (or use non-stick cooking spray). Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed until well blended. Add the vanilla and almond extract, if using. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and beat until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of the batter.
Spread the remaining batter in the baking sheet. Spoon the cherry pie filling over the top. Drop the reserved cup of batter by teaspoonfuls over the pie filling. It should look uneven. When baked, the batter on the bottom rises and creates reservoirs of cherry filling.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the batter begins to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pie Party Recipes: Banana Cream Pie

Here's the Banana Cream Pie you've all been waiting for. I had to save the best for last! I think of all the pies I made for my Pie Party, this was my favorite. Though the key lime pie was a very close second. I love banana pudding, though I didn't always and I'll tell you why. I don't like artificial banana flavoring and as a kid when we had banana pudding, it was made with instant banana flavored pudding, not vanilla. I thought that was how banana pudding was supposed to be. I liked the bananas and the vanilla wafers, but not the icky banana flavored pudding.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized what banana pudding could/should be. For years I made Paula Deen's "Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding" until I started making my own custard. I like Paula's recipe, but when I eat it now I can taste all the chemicals and artificial flavors in the boxed pudding and Cool Whip. Now I don't eat banana pudding often, but when I do, I have to do it right and making it in pie form is right up my alley. I also made a banana pudding pie from Southern Living that was quite amazing. They're both similar in flavor, but this one was easier to make.

I made the crust and the filling the night before I needed it, that way on the day of, all I had to do was assemble it and make the fresh whipped cream. The custard was interesting in that all the ingredients go into the pot at once. You just stir, and stir and stir and just when you think it's never going to thicken- wham! It gets super thick. My pudding actually got a little too thick. I'm not sure if it's because of the recipe or because I overcooked it, but I just thinned it out the chilled pudding with a little milk before I assembled the pie. The end result was creamy, sweet and addicting pie. I was sad when it was all gone. My stepdad has even offered to pay me to make another one. Will do!

Banana Cream Pie from Simply Suppers

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For The Crust:

  • 2 cups vanilla wafer cookies (about 1 1/4 cups crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For The Filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas

For The Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

To Make The Crust: In a food processor, finely grind the cookies. Add the sugar and pulse until combined. Slowly add the butter and pulse until well incorporated and moist clumps form. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until set, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To Make The Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Over medium-low heat, cook, whisking continuously, until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and place in the refrigerator and cool completely, at least two hours or overnight.

Assembly: Spoon half the cooled pudding evenly over the bottom of the crust. (My pudding was very thick, so I thinned it out slightly with a little milk prior to assembling the pie). Peel the bananas and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Create a layer of banana slices, reserving some for garnish. Spoon the remaining pudding evenly over the bananas. Place the pie in the refrigerator to set while making the whipped cream topping.

To Make the Topping: In the large bowl, place the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (You want the cream stiff enough to hold it's shape but not over whipped or it will curdle.) Spoon or use a pastry bag to pipe the whipped cream evenly over the pie filling. Chill the pie until set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving garnish with extra vanilla wafers or bananas, if desired.

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